Rishi Sunak 'cosplaying Liz Truss' and will not lower National Insurance, Rachel Reeves says

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves at a press conference in London (Lucy North/PA Wire)
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves at a press conference in London (Lucy North/PA Wire)

The Prime Minister is “cosplaying Liz Truss” and the Tories will not follow through on their pledge to lower National Insurance, the shadow chancellor has said.

Speaking at a London press conference responding to the Tory manifesto on Tuesday, Rachel Reeves said: “[Rishi Sunak] said he was the antidote to Liz Truss.

Instead, he’s cosplaying Liz Truss by again doing what the Conservatives did in that mini-budget with £71billion of unfunded commitments.”

She added that the Tories are “not going to cut national insurance”, but if they do, it would mean “£4,800 more on your mortgage”.

Asked whether a Labour government would raise some taxes, she said: “I want taxes to be lower. I wake up every morning not thinking how I can raise taxes, but how I can grow the economy.”

Ms Reeves said Labour’s 2019 manifesto had unfunded commitments, as she promised to “never play fast and loose” with public finances.

She added: “What we saw in 2019 from the Labour Party was unfunded commitments, and even though some people said that individually those proposals were popular, you add them all up and it didn’t add up and that’s why people rejected that manifesto.

“But we can look to the more recent past and the Conservative mini-budget just under two years ago, and in that Conservative mini-budget there were £46 billion of unfunded proposals in that case around tax cuts, what we saw was that she couldn’t follow through on it but the damage was already done.

“Mortgage rates spiralled and people found themselves paying – the 1.5 million re-mortgaging this year alone – paying £240 extra.

“So we know what happens when unfunded commitments are made: you can’t believe that those commitments are actually going to happen, but what you can guarantee is the financial market turbulence and the higher mortgage rates that they bring.”

She added: “I will never play fast and loose with the public finances, because when you do so you play fast and loose with family finances.”

The Tories hit back at Ms Reeves’s rebuttal press conference hours after the Conservative manifesto.

A Conservative spokesman said: “Once again Reeves is confusing facts and fiction on numbers.

“Rachel Reeves’s chaotic and panicked dossier is full of complete nonsense and capped off with the extraordinary claim that it will cost the taxpayer £5.7 billion to cut the civil service back to pandemic levels.

“Most substantially, Labour’s position is that it is not possible to save a single penny from the welfare budget. This kind of thinking is why they have ended up with a £38.5 billion black hole and need to raise taxes by £2,094 per working household.”